Is life becoming a grind? Are you feeling overwhelmed by self-imposed obligations? Things need to get done but it feels like each effort is depleting you of energy, health and well-being. This is no way to live. Sure there are times when we all need to put our shoulder into it and really push. But these should be exceptions. When your life is so burdened and you are just putting in time, hoping that “someday” a break will magically happen and you will be set free, you are wasting your life.
A lot of this suffering is part of the “no pain, no gain” mentality. It is a belief system that kind of says you are a beast of burden, destined to be the unit of labour for some other master. I was raised to believe this and I bought into it for a long time. When I was younger, it served me as I struggled to get things done and prove myself. I felt a need to make a mark on this planet. I got a lot done and achieved much. I spent big money and attended all those Tony Robbins seminars. I really got organized and pumped up and this helped to drive me forward with massive action. So I added a new twist on the old delusion. It involved massive action and service to others. It seemed like a noble endeavour… Sacrifice for others and pay a success coach to drive me even harder. A delusion because this also created a false sense of self importance.
AND, I wasn’t happy.
All the external achievements and accumulated wealth didn’t really bring about the inner growth or happiness I really needed. Of course I didn’t know this at the time but the burn out, migraines and general crabbiness were all the result of a faulty basis for purpose.
So, is there an alternative to this maddening misery?
Yes. It is simple. It takes gentleness, and patience. It doesn’t cost big bucks. Here is the big alternative…INSPIRATION.
When you are inspired, activities seem effortless. Things get done and you feel even better after doing them. A sense of satisfaction and growth pervades. Opportunity and abundance is everywhere. Like the Eagles song, you’ll have a… “Peaceful, easy feeling”.
What is inspiration?
Here is a definition from the Google Dictionary:
The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
“Helen had one of her flashes of inspiration“
synonyms: creativity, inventiveness, innovation, innovativeness, ingenuity, imagination, imaginativeness, originality, individuality;
artistry, expressiveness, creative power, creative talent, creative skill, genius, insight, vision, wit, finesse, flair, brilliance, sophistication
“these writings lack inspiration”
The great Hungarian Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book about a mental state he called “FLOW”. This mental state is similar to a feeling of inspiration. When active, things seem to be connected and moving well. Some say, it is like floating down a river. Just going with the flow. Progressing, but with very little effort.
How can I achieve a mood of inspiration?
The easiest way to be inspired is to be still, relaxed and resting the mind. Allow the mind to slow down. In doing this, some mental space becomes available and in this vacuum, a subtle, beautiful impulse emerges. Nurture this impulse with gentle action and now you are experiencing a sense of inspiration. Let go of agendas, and obligations, and any notion of work or struggle. Let it go and come back to that impulse. The more you connect with this moment of inspiration, the easier it is to link these moments together. With some practice, you can sustain this feeling of inspiration for 30 to 60 seconds and that’s enough.
Eventually, you can learn to build momentum, which is a lot like surfing or floating down a river… utilizing the forces all around you to do most of the work. You have fun and progress with ease.
Of course, there is some irony in this. Better productivity, progress and well-being by doing less work. Really, we are reframing our idea of work. Rather than driving ourselves with force and struggle, we LET GO and do nothing. It turns out that, at first, learning to do nothing is actually quite difficult for some. Still, anyone can relearn the skill to be still.